If you want to have wilder, curiouser thoughts, you have to avoid the industrial monocropping of big-tech feeds. You want an intellectual forest, overgrown with mushrooms and towering weeds and a massive dead log where a family of raccoons has taken up residence.
I feel that the apex predator reintroduced as a part of this rewilding exercise is the question of time and productivity. We worry so much about demands and deadlines, that we fail to celebrate the things we have already done? Is the problem with doom scrolling actually the doom of the algorithmic nature of the feed, rather than the serendipity of dipping in? Or are the two forever intertwined? Is the answer ‘Twitter social distancing‘ or a reimagining of how we consume and create?
As Thompson himself attests, one answer is building up your own feeds. This is something that I have discussed here:
I am not sure whether social media will go away, but with the questions being asked of it at the moment, maybe it is time for a second coming of blogs, a possible rewilding of edtech. The reality is that technology is always changing and blogging is no different. Whatever the future is, standards such as RSS and OPML will surely play there part.
I like how Doug Belshaw frames the challenge as being in part about extending your serendpity surface. For Belshaw, the question is whether you curate your feeds or are instead curated:
read more widely and don’t settle for the “free.” algorithmically-curated, filter bubble being created for you by advertising-funded services with shareholders. We should be encouraging learners to do likewise. Doing so may take money, it may take time, it may be less convenient, but our information environments are important.
Beyond feeds, books and searches, I am also interested in sites like The Forest which add a touch of the unknown too.
However, at the end of the day, the missing piece in the rewilding exercise is people actually writing in a public square together to somehow celebrate the collective weirdness. I guess I still live in hope.